Improve productivity and engagement: employee ownership and better business

12 September 2017

It’s no secret that people who are happy in their work tend to be both fulfilled and more productive.  So how can more Scottish companies achieve the performance improvements a motivated workforce can deliver?

One category of business that seems to know the answers is employee owned firms. Research demonstrates that companies owned by their employees achieve productivity increases of 4.5%, with a corresponding increase of 25% in profitability. Employees who own their companies report higher levels of job satisfaction, and have fewer absences than peers in equivalent conventionally structured firms.  These companies are also more likely to remain in the area, providing jobs for the long term.

This event provides the opportunity to hear from two successful local companies who have chosen the employee ownership route and also to hear from a local professional with expertise in guiding organisations through the process.

Register here >


9.30 Coffee and networking
10.00 Welcome and background; Glen Dott - CDS and Colin MacBeath - HIE
10.15 Andrew Mackenzie – Managing Director, ERS: The ownership stake; involving employees
10.35 Niall MacDonald – Managing Director, Aquascot: Employee Ownership
11.05 Chris Kerr – Partner, Harper Macleod: The sustainable business
11.30 Q&A
12.00 Close and buffet lunch


Andrew Mackenzie

Andrew Mackenzie is Managing Director of Environmental Reclamation Services Ltd (ERS).  ERS was formed in 1994 and became a subsidiary of a US company. In 2003, Andrew led a management buyout and ERS became a successful independent business.  Andrew was keen to find a model of ownership that involved all the employees. Partnership working with clients is central to how ERS operates, it made sense to find a way to structure ERS to reflect this.  Andrew visited several employee owned firms before making the transition, which was completed in 2016.  A former Vet, Andrew also runs a farm in Tain, Highland.

Andrew will cover:
• The Background to ERS
• His motivations to consider employee ownership and how he arrived at a decision
• How the process worked
• How employees received the news
• Reflections on the impact and learning from the process


Niall MacDonald
Niall MacDonald is Managing Director of Aquascot, the salmon processing firm in Alness, Easter Ross.  The company began in 1987 and now employs 200 people and has a turnover of £45m. The company was initially entrepreneur-owned, was acquired by a larger organisation, and then became independent again following a management buyout in 2003.  The company founders were keen to find an ownership model that anchored the company in the area and sold their shares to an employee trust.  The result is that as of 2017, Aquascot is fully owned by its employees.

Niall will cover :
• The story of Aquascot
• The succession options considered and the context of the Highland economy
• The decision to adopt employee ownership
• The company structure and operation
• The results


Chris Kerr
Chris Kerr is a Partner in the Corporate team at Harper Macleod LLP.  He primarily advises family owned and owner managed businesses based throughout Scotland, including many with business interests in a number of other jurisdictions.  He has also had involvement in the subject of, and transactions relating to, employee ownership for a number of years. 

Chris is the Lead Partner for Harper Macleod's Highlands & Islands operation. He has previously participated in the Entrepreneurship course run by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, tutored at Glasgow Graduate Law School in Company and Commercial Law, and lectured in Company Law at Inverness College UHI

Chris will cover:
• Succession options open to business owners
• Technicalities of the EOT
• Funding options
• Considerations for owner e.g. protections, vendor financing, warranties etc.
• Share schemes
• Governance in EOBs


Register here 

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